What does the Bible say about loving your children?
God’s Word often compares a mother’s love for her child to His love for His people. Take Isaiah 66:13 for example, “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.” A mother’s love is deep and comforting. God created the family, and children are a gift from Him.
Ephesians 6:4 (ESV) says: Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Proverbs 22:6 (ESV): Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Psalm 127:3-5 (ESV): Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
10 ways to love your children the godly way
1. Teach Them
I meet a lot of moms and dads who give great attention, spend vast sums of money, and schedule large amounts of time to ensure that their children are adequately taught how to play baseball, basketball, or soccer; how to play the piano, to sing, dance, or tumble; even how to properly “take tea.”
They make sure their children master certain skills and develop hobbies. They make sure their kids-from infancy to the altar-are wearing the “right” clothes, brands, and styles. Even the littlest ones “must know” what’s hot and what’s not.
These parents wouldn’t want their child to be perceived as a freak or a geek. No, they must be “with it” and “cool.” On and on the list of worldly “must knows” goes.
But the weightier things are the basics of the Christian life: things like going to church, memorizing Bible verses and hymns, learning how to have daily devotions, how to pray, how to give at church, how to serve others, how to help people, how to extend mercy and compassion, are treated as secondary or are completely absent.
As Christian parents, we need to wake up to the awesome responsibility we have to teach our children! We need to make our Christian “must-know” list and set about to teach our children how to live like Christians.
They must know about Jesus-who He is and the fact of His sacrificial death. Our earnest plea to God must be for the salvation of our children’s souls-and our instruction is to earnestly point them toward the One who is able to accomplish that salvation.
And, speaking of waking up to the awesome responsibility we have to teach our children, hear these sobering words from my husband’s friends, Dennis and Dawn Wilson.
The Puritans’ devout love of God, their obedience and allegiance to the Scriptures, and their eternal perspective of their children gave them a sense of parental responsibility and stewardship that greatly surpasses that of today’s cultural Christianity.
Their words of challenge written centuries ago should cut us to the heart: “It is in your hands to do them the greatest kindness or cruelty in all the world: help them to know God and to be saved, and you do more for them than if you helped them to be lords or princes: if you neglect their souls, and breed them in ignorance, worldliness, ungodliness, and sin, you betray them to the devil, the enemy of souls, even as truly as if you sold them to him; you sell them to be slaves to Satan; you betray them to him that will deceive them and abuse them in this life, and torment them in the next.”
Do these words give you a little different and more eternal perspective on your high calling to be a teacher of the truth? Our role as a teacher to our children is not optional. It is commanded by God.
It’s another one of His high callings to parents who have children. So, do you, precious mom or dad, love God enough to pay the price to earnestly seek to fulfill His command to you to teach your children about Him?
And do you love your children enough to sacrifice yourself (it will cost you personally to put this discipline in place), your time (lesser pursuits will have to make way for the greater), your energy (training is rewarding work…but never easy work), and
your money (Bibles and books and music and materials are needed to help aim your teaching of God’s truth straight into your youngsters’ hearts)?
It will cost you all of this, and more plus adequate preparation and a consistent schedule to ensure that your children know all about the greatest thing in the world: God’s love for them and His instructions on how they should live their lives.
2. Train Them
Certainly, every parent should train her children to work and fulfill their responsibilities with a good attitude. But even more important than such vital instruction for life is training our offspring to obey what the Bible teaches, to follow their father, and to obey you, their mother.
(And I have to comment here that I cannot count the times I’ve heard my two daughters tell their little ones, “You must obey Poppy and Mimi.” They are being trained to do what Jim and I, their grandparents, ask of them)
Children also need to be taught and trained to respect their teachers, to respect authority, to cooperate with others, and to fulfill their responsibilities. We must hold our children to account- able to faithfulness in their obligations at home, at school, at work, and at church.
Your teaching, dear mom, is crucial and your training is critical, for “the instruction received at the mother’s knee, and the paternal lessons, together with the pious and sweet souvenirs of the fireside, are never effaced entirely from the soul.”
3. Talk to God About Them
Monica was a wife and a mother of three children who lived for 56 years from A.D. 331 to 387. One of her children was Augustine, a wayward son who became a man of fiery temper and openly spurned the Christian teachings of his mother, choosing to move deeply into sin.
Though Augustine evaded his saintly mother and mocked her Christian teachings and prayers, she patiently persevered in prayer for her debauched son when he decided to leave Carthage and go to Rome, Monica wished to accompany him, going with him as far as the seaport.
But her conniving son tricked his sincere mother into spending the night in a church. By morning he was on his way to Rome, and Monica was left behind. Sorrowfully but prayerfully she went home.
Her persistent prayers were answered when, in Milan, Italy, God used the preaching of the great Bishop Ambrose (mixed with the incense of a mother’s faithful supplications to God on behalf of her son) to bring Augustine to Christ at the age of 33.
It’s reported that upon hearing of Augustine’s rebirth, the dear mother said, “Now I can die.” Sadly, on the trip to join her son after his conversion and baptism, she did just that.
In the end, Monica’s faith, prayers, and Christian life helped influence her whole family to become Christians. Augustine became one of the greatest and most influential of the early church fathers.
Before she died, this saintly, loving mother saw her three children and her husband all become Christians.
To love our children is to pray for them. Yes, we teach and we train, but we also talk to God about them. Even if our sons or daughters cease to listen to us, God never does.
Are you a praying mother? Would you pray for 33 years if your child were wayward, cruel, demeaning, and corrupt? Beloved, we are called by God to love our children no matter what. And love prays!
4. Talk to Them About God
Of course, we should talk to God about our children, but we should also talk to our children about God. That’s the instruction of Deuteronomy 6:6-7-you are to talk to your sons and daughters about God “when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
We should take every opportunity to talk about God-and we should make opportunities to talk about God.
5. Time to Read About Parenting
Anytime I mentor younger parents, not only have I asked them to read five minutes a day on marriage, but I have also required them to read five minutes a day about raising children.
Why? To help keep them sharp as parents. To help keep them on their toes as they train their young ones.
To help keep them thinking about their high calling as parents. To help keep them actively reaching for a better job, eagerly and energetically pressing forward in their parental duties, and keenly committed to faithfully following after their high calling of being a godly parent.
I want to recommend the same exercise to you. Read…and read…and read some more. And file away what you’re reading. In time, you’ll want to refer back to it so you can evaluate your progress.
And you’ll want to have it on hand so you are pre- pared, Lord willing, for the day when it’s time for you to teach the younger moms what you’ve learned. What a wonderful day that will be!
6. Take Time to Read to Them
I know many parents who routinely read classical children’s literature to their little ones. As a former English literature teacher, I had a list of the top 100 children’s books that are considered foundational to a child’s education.
But our first priority-as a godly mother and father, Christian parent, a believer who holds in our hands God’s high calling to love, to teach, to train His children-is to be reading God’s Word, God’s stories, and good books about Jesus to such tender, pliable, moldable minds.
They need to know about the Bible and its heroes. Our aim is for the God-inspired words of the Bible to take root in our precious youngsters’ hearts.
Pray that their dreams and aspirations are filled with examples of men and women who have faithfully served God instead of puppets and cartoon figures, caped and masked superheroes, teen idols and rock stars.
7. Teach Them to Pray
Here are some startling words I read (and saved) when I was in the throes of motherhood. The heathen mother takes her babe to the idol temple, and teaches it to clasp its little hands before its forehead, in the attitude of prayer, long before it can utter a word.
As soon as it can walk, it is taught to gather a few flowers or fruits, or put a little rice upon a banana-leaf, and lay them on the altar before the idol god. As soon as it can utter the names of its parents, so soon it is taught to offer up its petitions before the images. Who ever saw a heathen child that could speak, and not pray?
Christian parents, why is it that so many children grow up in this enlightened land without learning to pray?
If this scene is true (and we know it is), then why would we wait or fail to teach our toddlers to pray? I know that my little grandson Jacob learned to scrunch his eyes shut and bury his head into his clasped hands during “grace” well before his first birthday.
And my little Taylor Jane’s mom had to cover Taylor’s mouth at church because she loved to yell out “Amen!” every time anyone prayed during the worship service. She was a mere one-year-old, but she was already well familiar with “praying” at home.
8. Take Care of Them
Loving your children means taking care of them. Food, clothes, rest, a safe home, order, a schedule, and a place of peace are your children’s rights.
And you, as the mother, are the provider of such care. It will take all that you are and can give empowered by God’s energy and grace-to pro- vide such care.
As my daughter Katherine said to me one day when I remarked that she looked a little tired, “Oh, Mom, I’ve been tired since the day Taylor was born!” That about says it all when it comes to the sacrificial price God calls His mothers to make for their brood.
9. Tell Them About Jesus
One of the musts on the list of ways Christian parents are to love their children is by telling them about Jesus. Why? So they know about Jesus’ love for them (John 3:16) and so that they can love Him, too.
This chapter is about God’s high calling to love our children, and, as one pastor put it, “The most important responsibility of love for believing parents is to lead their children to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.”
I pray that your little ones hear enough about Jesus to ask you to “tell me the stories of Jesus.” You may recognize that phrase as the title of an old-time hymn.
Its author, William H. Parker, returned home from church one Sunday after teaching his Sunday school class. As he reflected upon his class’s constant cry of “Teacher, tell us another story!” he wrote his famous hymn on that Lord’s Day afternoon in 1885. Notice how it covers the broad spectrum of the life, the teachings, and the death of the Savior.
Children love to hear stories. As a loving mom who loves Jesus herself, make sure that you take advantage of your child’s keen interest in stories and fill his or her mind with truths about Jesus.
Allow the stories of Jesus to lay a firm foundation upon which your child may build his life. Simply tell your precious one the stories of Jesus.
10. Try Your Best-with the Lord’s Help-to Model Godliness
If you’re a woman or man seeking to follow after God and answer His high callings, I’m sure you’re already making strides in modeling a spiritual life before your children. Truly, the most valuable gift you can give your family is a good example.
By now I’m sure you can see there are multitudes of ways to love your children. I am trusting and praying that after reading through this article you now have a better understanding of what a privilege and high calling it is to have and to love children.
5 Ways To Support Your Children
- Read Together
- Support their passions
- Say positive things
- Listen to their concerns
- Maintain a healthy sleep schedule
The ultimate way you and I can love our children is to go to war and do spiritual battle on their behalf.
There can be no greater testimony of a mother’s love, care, and concern than her campaign for the spiritual welfare of her children. Such was the apostle Paul’s observation of his protégé Timothy’s godly mother and grandmother.
Because of their steadfast faithfulness, Timothy had known since his earliest years the holy Scriptures that were able to make him wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:15).
The world is tugging at our children’s hearts, pulling them down and away from God. Loving our children means we are willing to get down in the trenches and fight to turn our children’s hearts toward God-toward His Word and His ways.
May you, as a parent whose heart is filled with love for her children, ever look upward for God’s almighty strength and empowering grace, and may you march onward without fail in the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). Your child’s heart is at stake!